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The relationship between your period and your self-esteem

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Throughout menstruation your hormones naturally fluctuate. These changes can affect how you feel both physically and mentally in the build-up to the bleed.

Here, we’re looking at this in more detail and how it can alter your self-esteem.

First things first, we’re talking about hormonal changes and self-esteem. Not about periods making us self-conscious. We’re not about period shaming, and we’re all about being #PeriodPowerful!

Hormonal changes during menstruation can affect your overall wellbeing. But can this, in turn, affect your self-confidence and self-esteem? Being a brand that celebrates body positivity, we wanted to call this out in a blog to start a discussion. We felt it was important to talk about these feelings and look at what you can experience in your body during menstruation.

Not quite feeling yourself?

I think we all have those moments of despair during menstruation. Your period is due and suddenly you just don’t feel yourself. You might be feeling uncomfortable or in pain. Perhaps your skin is misbehaving, or you feel bloated.  The list goes on, but these are generally symptoms that can be related to your period.

What is going on with your hormones?

Looking at the science, it’s no wonder you feel out of sorts! Throughout menstruation, it’s like walking a hormonal tightrope. It’s easy to tip the balance either way. But before your period arrives your hormones dramatically fluctuate.

On the days leading up to your period, your progesterone and oestrogen levels plummet. This can cause water retention, acne flare up and insomnia.  Then when your period arrives oestrogen and progesterone remain at the lowest level. Additionally, prostaglandins can trigger cramps and fatigue. It can lower your immune system, which, in turn, can flare-up conditions such as psoriasis or eczema (if you are prone to these). And that’s just an example round-up of what your body can go through on your period. Everyone is different, and you might get all the above, or only a few symptoms.

Does this affect your self-confidence?

These symptoms alone can leave you not feeling your best. But alongside trying to get a hold of PMS related discomfort, there might be more going on in your body which can impact self-confidence.

There’s evidence that reduced levels of oestrogen can lead to a dip in serotonin. Serotonin helps regulate your mood. A dip here can affect how you feel mentally. And here’s a link! Low serotonin is linked to increased emotional sensitivity, which can present as low self-confidence.  There have also been studies linking testosterone to self-confidence. The studies suggest that high levels of testosterone can result in high self-esteem. Before your period, your testosterone levels also dip, so this could also be another potential reason for a dip in confidence levels!

Low self-confidence, increased self-care

Whatever the reason, if you do feel less confident and ‘out of sorts’ on your period, it’s time to prioritise self-care. I’m all about self-care and believe it’s essential on your period for both your mental and physical wellbeing.

Your body is being put through it’s paces. It’s time to take time out to care for yourself. Here are our top tips to help you tailor your self-care to menstrual discomfort:

Refresh your skin

Elevated progesterone levels send our sebaceous glands into overdrive. Your hair and skin might suddenly feel oily and greasy. This can lead to breakouts, or just an uncomfortable feeling. That makes you want to wash your hair and give your skin a good scrub! To feel fresh and take back the power, try switching all your products to oil-free alternatives – especially with products that you use on your T-zone.

Alternatively, try a bit of evening skin TLC. If by 6pm your more grease than human, try removing all your make-up with a soothing camomile cleanser. Apply an aloe-vera face mask and let the natural antibacterial properties lift oils and impurities out of your skin. Then pat a light gel/oil free moisturiser into your skin.

Puffiness/bloating

Hormonal fluctuations can lead to water retention, across your whole body or part of your body. It’s important to keep your body hydrated by drinking lots of water and lower your intake of salty foods.

To combat facial puffiness, trying using a jade roller. Gently roll the cool jade stone over your face in different directions to drain puffiness. If you have water retention in your whole body and a bloated feeling, try soaking in a bath of Epsom salts. This can draw out fluids and toxins to restore a level of balance in your body.

Low mood

If you are feeling emotional or have a low mood, it’s essential to look after yourself. Do something you love to lift your mood. If it’s an outdoor or social activity, this is even better! It helps to talk to others about how you’re feeling. Sometimes a good talk with a loved one can give you the boost you need.

Exhausted

If you’ve been having poor quality sleep before/during your period, then this can leave you feeling exhausted. If your energy levels have crashed, it’s important to take time out or you risk weakening your immune system. Try downloading a mindfulness app, such as Calm. Apps such as this give you a series of mindful exercises to slow your breathing and relax your body. It can aid restful sleep which is important to restore your body! For more tips to help you sleep on your period, take a look here.

Your body is powerful, and naturally goes through all these changes every cycle. Granted, it can leave you feeling not so good but remember this will soon pass. Look after yourself, listen to your body and don’t be too hard on yourself.  Self-criticism and pressure is the worst thing you can do to lower your self-esteem. Look to self-care to get a little boost!

Does your self-confidence take a dip during your period? Sound off in the comments below or chat to us on socials @totmorganic.

Photo credit: Alex Holyoake

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